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Optician Online

Developments in corneal transplants


    Abstract:

    It is estimated that around 4.9 million individuals have bilateral blindness and a further 23 million have unilateral blindness due to corneal disease.1 Existing levels of corneal transplantation using human donor tissue are, however, failing to reduce the incidence of blindness due to corneal disease. The review by Gain et al provides a useful assessment of corneal transplant statistics relating to 2012, a year when 184,576 corneal transplants were recorded in 116 countries. However, around 53% of the world’s population had no access to corneal transplantation that year.2

    A limiting factor for conventional transplantation techniques the supply of donor material and, even within the developed world, there is considerable variation in the availability of tissue material. The basic statistic that approximately only one donor cornea is available for every 70 patients requiring a transplant is a major incentive for research to discover alternative methods for corneal grafting, such as corneal bioengineering of various types.

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